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Women’s presence remains limited in Faryab govt offices

Women’s presence remains limited in Faryab govt offices

May 21, 2019 - 19:36

MAIMANA (Pajhwok):  A number of womeninfo-icon activists in northwestern Faryab province say security problems, negative traditions and discrimination against women outside their homes are reasons behind the limited female presence in government offices of the province.

They criticize low presence of women in government offices and say they are working only in a limited number of offices.

According to Faryab labor and social affairs department, around 2,815 people are working in civil services areas in the province and 30 percent of these workers are women.

Dr. Karima Hamid Faryabi, a member of Civil Societyinfo-icon Network in Faryab, said that there were no female officers in a majority of government offices including in districts.

She said only one woman was symbolically appointed as chief of Khan Charbagh district and a few others worked in Andkhoi district.

She said women could help improve governance, transparency in performance and elimination of corruption in offices but they were given no chance to work there.

“Women are more committed and honest compared to men and the government should pay attention to women’s security in offices and employ them based on their educationinfo-icon level and capacity”, she said.

“After the fall of the Talibaninfo-icon regime and establishment of the new government, women started working in many government offices with high interest in order to serve their people, but insecurity, lack of facilities, harassment from male colleagues and misuse of women caused people not to let their women work in offices,” Faryabi said.

Farkhunda, a teacher in Stara High School in Maimana city, the provincial capital who was also a member of the Consultative Loya Jirgainfo-icon for peace, said that women in Faryab were working only in women’s affairs department, education department and higher education.

“Insecurity, collapse of districts to Taliban, misogyny, restrictions from families are obstacles to women’s activities in government offices,” she said.

She said women should bravely use their rights given to them by Islam and the country’s laws.

Qahira Qarizada, human resources manager at Maimana municipality, also criticized the presence of a limited number of women in government offices in the province.

She said women’s education level had improved compared to the past but their families did not allow them to work in offices due to lack of safety and harassments.

She said no women had the courage to work in an environmentinfo-icon dominated by men due to the mentioned problems.

However, Qarizada said Maimana city municipality had significantly changed and 16 of total 60 workers of the office were women.

Besides security challenges, discrimination, restrictions, lack of facilities such as toilet, kindergarten, transport and others have caused women to show less interest to work in government offices, she said.

Meanwhile, Firoz Karimi, Faryab University Chancellor, said that 34 of total 158 lecturers in the university were women as well as 1,056 of total 4,171 students of the university were girls.

However, he said that the number of female students had reduced due to security threats, warnings from insurgents and women’s low interest in agricultureinfo-icon, engineering and economic subjects.

Mohammad Shoaib Noori, acting Faryab education director, told Pajhwok that there were more than 320,000 school students including 42 percent of them girls in Faryab.

He said that 3,217 of total 9,147 education workers and teachers were women in the province.

Karima Behiqi, director of labor and social affairs department of Faryab, said insecurity was the main problem of women in the province but the gender was able to work outside their homes after the fall of Taliban regime.

She said that women’s presence in the education sector was higher compared to other sectors.           

Baihaqi added women have been part of the Provincial Council, Parliament, government and non-governmental organizations, but there was the need to expand their role and presence.

“There is no hurdle in the way of women to work in government, only a negative mindset in the public has emerged with stories coming from other provinces regarding the harassment of women, no such incident has happened in Faryab,” he said.

But Shahla, not a real name, said: “Back in 2010, I was working with an NGO and assisted my family with my salary but the news of secret marriage of another female employee with her colleague sent a negative message in our traditional society. I myself decided not to work before my family could stop me.”

Hameedullah Azeemi, an employee of the local Human Rights Office, termed the presence of women at government institutions as satisfactory and added participation of women in social, cultural and political aspects of life had improved compared to the past and their level of awareness and knowledge had gone up.

He said women awareness and awakening helped decline incidents of violence against women and strengthened their resolve to stand against under age, forced marriages and advocate for their rights.

“Although women have been serving as teachers, lawyers, government employees and civil society activists, but there is still need to have effective and influential role in government institutions,” he said.

Referring to the limited access of women to jobs in districts, he said insecurity not only prevented women but also men from seeking jobs in districts.

He said no complaint regarding women’s harassment in government institutions had been reported to them.

Governor Naqibullah Faeq acknowledged that women’s presence at government institutions in Faryab was 10 times low compared to Balkh and Kabulinfo-icon provinces.

He said apart from the governor’s office no women employee worked at University, Education Department, Public Healthinfo-icon Department and any other department at local government and district administration level.

Continued fighting, lack of good governance and meddling of powerful individuals in government affairs were reasons behind the lack of women at government institutions.

He said earlier no woman was allowed to take part in decision making meetings but after his taking over as governor the situation had completely changed and women employees were allowed to participate in meetings and gatherings.

Faeq said women contenders would be allotted 10 extra marks as part of positive rivalry during open competitive events in order to encourage more women and girls at government institutions.

“The president during his recent trip to Faryab ordered to provide more opportunity for women in order to encourage their presence. In the past three months 193 women have been employed through Acted Programme and over 100 more women would be employed under the USAIDinfo-icon Promote Programme,” he said, adding in the coming five months around 500 women would be employed in different sectors.

The governor assured local residents that an appropriate environment had been created for women in government institutions, the past illicit culture had been eradicated and as a testimony it was observed that 31 percent of participants of the recently concluded Peace Loya Jirga were women.

Hajjinfo-icon and Religious Affairs Director Maulviinfo-icon Gul Ahmad Lutfi said Islam was not against the education and work of women, adding Islamic teachings offered complete rights and place to women.

He said Islam ordered men and women to get education and allowed women to work in society according to Islamic teachings.



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